Lieutenant General William Boykin has stared cowards in the face before, and he won’t hesitate to do so now. Not even when the same Army he served is trying to take away the freedom he fought to protect. Boykin, an outspoken Christian and Delta Force hero, had been looking forward to speaking at the West Point Prayer Breakfast since the Academy invited him. In the days leading up to the event, the General Boykin settled on a topic: the importance of leaders seeking God. But it was a speech he never got to deliver. The Academy withdrew the invitation when a handful of atheist and Muslim cadets complained about Boykin’s beliefs. The message to this elite, three-star warrior was obvious: you and your faith aren’t welcome.
In an op-ed defending Boykin, FRC’s Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski explain that “As a private citizen retired from the Army, General Boykin has cast America ‘s war against radical Islamic terrorists as fighting Satan… Evidently it’s not politically correct to suggest that blowing up children is the devil’s work.” And while the Academy was desperate to distance itself from Boykin’s faith, it hasn’t budged from comments made by his Muslim detractors. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) not only called Boykin an “Islamaphobe” but compared his views to the KKK’s. “It was an ecumenical presentation,” Boykin said about his speech. “It had nothing to do with Islam.” But even he sees the writing on the wall. “People of faith and conservative Americans are losing our voice to a very well-organized and very well-funded group of passionate people–those being the atheists and Muslims. They want to change the nature of our culture–and they’re succeeding.”
Unfortunately, this is part of the long shadow cast on religious freedom by the Obama administration. In three years, the White House has created an environment where hostility toward orthodox Christianity is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Franklin Graham was a target. So was I. We were all disinvited from military events for the same reason: because we live and embrace our faith. By censoring these leaders, the military is depriving young soldiers of the wisdom of a highly decorated veteran. General Boykin could have helped these cadets as they wrestle with how to integrate their beliefs with military service. Instead, the Academy is suggesting to these young soldiers that living out their faith proudly is a barrier to advancement.
Is that what our country wants—a nation of one-dimensional warriors with no moral compass? Of course not. That’s why this march to obliterate faith is as dangerous as it is offensive. General Boykin survived being shot by a .50-caliber gun, and he will survive this. What concerns him, and what should concern all of us, is not whether Christianity will endure—but whether our freedom to practice it will. Without it, what would these cadets be fighting for?
Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.
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